Postgraduate enrolments soar

Postgraduate enrolments soar

The number of students enrolling to undertake PhD research at the Graduate School of the National Oceanography Centre Southampton (GSNOCS) has risen by over a third in the last two years, as funding has been increased to match demand for places in this world class programme.

Working with leading academics in their field, postgraduate students at GSNOCS are at the cutting edge of research. As a world-leading centre for ocean and Earth science research and teaching, scientists at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton are working on pioneering projects, seeking a greater understanding of the Earth system.

Head of the Graduate School, Professor Paul Wilson, says “Graduate students are the lifeblood of any serious research organisation and we are in the market to recruit the best. GSNOCS is a great place to work. We are large, highly international, scientifically diverse and genuinely multidisciplinary with nearly 200 PhD students drawn from backgrounds in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Science, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Geography, Geology, Geophysics, Mathematics, Meteorology, Natural Sciences, Oceanography and Physics.

“GSNOCS students work on a huge variety of problems,ranging from climate change, ocean acidification and sea level, to ore geology and the physics of the solid Earth, through to global sustainability, marine ecosystems, molecular biology and ocean biogeochemistry.”

Professor Damon Teagle, Chair of PhD recruitment, adds “GSNOCS offers critical scientific mass; we recruit PhD students from all over the world and, they enjoymany opportunities for fieldwork and scientific cruises.”

Postgraduate students frequently travel the world, taking part in scientific expeditions, on-board research vessels. “Within weeks of finishing my first degree in chemistry in Canada and arriving at Southampton, I had set sail on a six-week research cruise in the Arctic Ocean,” says first year PhD student Carolyn Graves.

Recently graduated PhD student Patrick Martin says “GSNOCS gave me a host of opportunities to go to sea to do fieldwork, both on British ships and via international collaborations on foreign vessels. The technological capacity to support doctoral research is excellent.”

GSNOCS students are continuously acknowledged by the wider scientific community for their exceptional efforts. Recently graduated PhD student Michele Paulatto has been awarded one of the Geological Society’s President’s Awards for 2011 – only two or three of these are awarded annually to young researchers of exceptional promise and ability in the Earth Sciences. Clara Bolton, another recent GSNOCS graduate received The Micropalaeontological Society’s Charles Downie Award for 2011. Helen Miller was recognised at the BGS BUFI Science Festival 2011 earlier this year and was awarded the ‘Best Staff Poster Prize’. Casey Nixon, James Nowecki and Steven Hollishave also been commended for the quality of their research work at key industry conferences this year.

Strong links to industry are a defining feature of much of the research that takes place at NOCS, and provides the opportunity for concepts to be applied to emerging technologies in oceanographic and geological disciplines. Demonstrating their entrepreneurial ability, a team of PhD students from the NOCS’ Centre for Marine Microsystems successfully won the Southern regional heat of the national enterprise competition, ‘Environment YES (Young Entrepreneur Scheme)’.

PhD students are involved in professional partnerships and collaborations throughout their time with us and gain invaluable experience and a competitive edge that leaves them highly prepared to pursue career paths in a range of industrial and commercial sectors. Recent PhD graduate Adam Charles says “GSNOCS provided a springboard to extended research visits, conferences and fieldwork all over the world. Working with world leaders helped me to evolve new ideas, leading to scientific publications and, ultimately, an exciting career in industry.”

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